Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Love Letters"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"Love Letters"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Players current show is A. R. Gurney's comic and poignant "Love Letter".  He wittily captures the manners of upper-middle class WASP America. Tracing the lifelong correspondence of the staid, dutiful lawyer, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and the lively, unstable artist Melissa Gardner, the story of their relationship unfolds from what is written and what is unsaid in their letters. The correspondence begins between these two friends in second grade with birthday party thank you notes and summer camp postcards. Romantically attached they continue exchanging letters through the boarding school and college years where Andy goes on to excel at Yale and in law school while Melissa flunks out of some "good schools".  The letters continue throughout their lives during good and bad times. First time director David Crossley makes a terrific directorial debut, casting two well seasoned performers, Jack O'Keefe and Carol Battaglia as Andrew and Melissa. He elicits stunning performances from both of them, leaving the audience in tears and laughing at all the appropriate moments. And they learned everything in only six days!!

David gives many nuances to their characters. Jack captures the up-tightness of Andrew from his younger carefree to his marriage to Jane and his becoming a Republican Senator. He handles the transitions of the character wonderfully. Carol plays the larger than life character of Melissa. She does so splendidly while infusing her with the proper zest and depressive behavior. Carol delivers a tour-de-force performance as this multifaceted woman. Her facial expressions and gestures are perfect whether she is reading her letters or reacting to Andy's letters or being tipsy or sober. David does a tremendous job with this two character show, winning them a resounding ovation at curtain call. I first worked with David and Carol back in "Mame" with Academy Players in 1984,So for a splendid funny yet heart warming show, be sure to catch "Love Letters'' at Players. Call Bill Applegate to become a member of this theatre club. Tell them Tony sent you.

"Love Letters" (21 - 30 March)
@ 400 Benefit Street, PROVIDENCE RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide